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Photoshop Tips and Shortcuts to Improve Your Skill

Photoshop is an amazing bit of software that many designers use on a daily basis. It’s such a flexible bit of kit that you could spend a week learning new features, and still have only scratched the surface of what’s possible.

Once you’ve overcome the beginners’ learning curve, however, there are some real gems hidden inside Photoshop that can help you speed up your work and get more out for less effort. Here we’ve rounded up some tips and tricks Photoshop tips and tricks to help sharpen your skills and improve your productivity.
Photoshop Tips and Shortcuts to Improve Your Skill

1.Gradient Fill layers

Using the Gradient Fill adjustment as opposed to the layer style and you have a larger Scale size of 1,000%. Layer styles only go up to 150%



2.Control your panels

In the top right hand corner of every panel is a little icon that reveals a fly-out menu, giving additional options that you might not have seen before. You can use this menu to set your layer panel thumbnails to be larger, crop to artwork and much more – experiment

photoshop tips


3.Bird’s Eye View

If you’re doing detailed work such as cloning or edge refinement, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Equally, if you’re working at a high zoom level, navigating around the document can become tiresome when you need to get back to your high-level zoom. With the Bird’s Eye View feature, when zoomed in you can press and hold the H key on your keyboard, and click and drag with your mouse to temporarily zoom out to a bird’s eye view. When you let go, you’ll zoom back in to the level you were working at.

4.Interactively set styles

When you’re adding a drop-shadow layer style, move the dialogue box to one side. By clicking and dragging on the canvas you can use your mouse to interactively move the shadow around relative to the layer casting the shadow.
photoshop tips

5.Paste in Place

Paste in Place is one of those functions that you’ll use all the time if you know about it, but if you don’t it will come as a revelation! After you’ve made a selection either in your current document, or in a second document if you’re combining artwork, copy as usual by choosing Edit>Copy, or by using the shortcut keys Ctrl+C (Windows) or Cmd+C (Mac). Once you’re viewing the document you want to paste into, use the shortcut keys Ctrl+Shift+V (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+V(Mac).

6.Blend modes

Did you know that blend modes can be placed onto multiple layers at a time? Just highlight more than one and the list stays active.

photoshop tips and tricks

7.Repeat Transformations

Once you’ve made a transformation to a layer or object using Edit>Transform, you can very quickly repeat that same transformation on another layer or object. Simply press Cmd+Shift+T on a Mac, or Ctrl+Shift+T on Windows, and Photoshop will repeat the same transformation on the currently active layer.

8.Solo your layer

If you’d like to preview a single layer, you can quickly get a look at it on its own by Alt+clicking on the layer’s eye icon in the layers panel. Alt+clicking on the eye icon again will return you to the previous layer visibility state. Note that if you accidentally click on another layer’s eye icon you’ll lose the ability to revert back to the previous state.

photoshop tips

9.Liquify filter

The Liquify filter has a maximum brush size of 15,000 pixels, increased from a previous 1500px brush size.

photoshop tips

10.Merge vector shapes

If you’re lucky enough to have Photoshop CS6 at your disposal, you can merge two vector shapes together and keep the result as an editable vector. Simply select the two shape layers and hitCmd/Ctrl+E on your keyboard to merge them together. In previous versions this would have resulted in a rasterized layer, but Adobe have updated the functionality for CS6.

photoshop tips

11.Draw dotted lines with the brush

A common Photoshop technique is to use the brush tool to draw straight lines. With the brush tool selected click to place a point, then hold down Shift+click at a second point to draw a straight line between the two points. You may not know that you can open the brush panel and set the brush spacing to 150%+ to draw a dotted line instead of a solid one!


12.Copy layer styles quickly

If you’ve been using Photoshop for a while you’ll know you can copy a layer to a new layer by holding down Alt/Opt and dragging a copy of the artwork across the canvas. You can use this same trick for layer styles: simply hold down the Alt/Optkey and drag the FX icon in the layers panel from the layer with the styles to the target layer – the styles will be copied right over!

13.Patch tool is Content-Aware

For cloning areas and retouching photos, the Patch tool can be set to Content-Aware in the Options bar.

photoshop tips

14.Quickly change measuring units

When you open a new document in Photoshop you can set the measuring units to match your needs, but sometimes you’ll need to switch between different units. The normal way to change is to select the options Photoshop>Preferences>Units & Rulers (or, on a PC, Edit>Preferences>Units & Rulers). But there is a quicker way! Just right-click on a ruler (Cmd+R/Ctrl+R will show your rulers if they’re not already visible) and choose the new measuring unit you need.

15.Fill with scripted patterns

Photoshop CS6 introduces a new pattern fill option based on a script. First isolate an object on a transparent background and define it as a pattern (Edit>Define Pattern). Next, access the fill command as you normally would (Edit>Fill or Shift+F5). Choose Pattern as the fill type, then select your isolated object from the patterns drop-down.
Finally, tick the Scripted Patterns checkbox and choose one of the options from the predefined scripts. All bar spiral will add a colour and brightness shift randomly to your object as part of the fill operation. You can also write your own scripts to use in this dialogue!


16.Insert Lorem Ipsum

A small new feature that will help save time when you’re producing mockups inside Photoshop is the handy new Lorem Ipsum function. Select the type tool and draw an area type box by clicking and dragging out a selection. Now choose Type > Paste Lorem Ipsum to automatically fill your type area with faux Latin text.


17.Crop non-destructively

Another nice addition to CS6 is the ability to crop without throwing away the bits of image outside your crop area. Choose the crop tool and uncheck the new Delete cropped pixels checkbox. Now when you apply your crop, the areas of image outside the crop will simply be hidden for later retrieval. To get access to the area outside your crop, simply choose the crop tool again and change your crop accordingly.


18.Layer styles to Groups

If you have lots of layers and don’t feel like spending half a day assigning the same layer style to each one, put them into a Group and double-click it to open layer styles.

photoshop tips

19.Hide other layers quickly

You can quickly get a preview of the current layer by turning off all other layers without losing track of which layers were visible and which were hidden. To do so, hold down the Alt/Opt key and click once on the eyeball icon in the layers panel for the layer you want to isolate. When you Alt/Opt and click again, the other layers will switch back on again, remembering which you had hidden.

20.Quickly create 3D extrusions

You can now add punch to your titles using 3D extrusions in Photoshop CS6. The 3D interface has been overhauled to make it more friendly to non-3D modellers, and it’s now really easy to create high-quality, textured 3D type by simply creating a type layer and choosing 3D>New 3D Extrusion from selected layer. Shadows and reflections are easier to control too, making it a great way to create engaging display type in a hurry.


21.Use actions for common tasks

One of the most powerful features in Photoshop is its ability to record macros of common tasks, allowing you to automate mundane manipulation work. Open the actions panel to see a list of pre-defined actions that can be run. Click the New button at the bottom of the panel to record your own action!

22.Add selective focus

With the new blur gallery in CS6 you can selectively blur and, by extension, add focus to your image. Individual focus points can be added to your image, with the amount of blur, fall off and iris size all edited directly on the canvas using the HUD. You can also add special effects such as lens bokeh with ease, making it simple to draw attention to the parts of an image you’re interested in.



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